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Canus brings its Caprina by Canus line to U.S. market

BY Antoinette Alexander

WATERBURY, Vt. — Canus, a provider of goat’s milk skin care products, is introducing its Caprina by Canus line of soaps, body washes and foaming milk baths to the U.S. market. 

Canus launched Caprina in Canada in early 2009 and, starting in June, Caprina will be available in U.S. retail stores. Both Publix Super Markets with 933 of its stores across the southern United States and Hannaford’s 180 locations throughout New England, will begin offering a selection of Caprina products.

Caprina by Canus products include a selection of original fragrance, olive oil, shea butter, lavender, orchid oil and unscented. Soaps are available in three packs with a suggested retail price of $4.99, and a 1.3-oz. trial size for 99 cents.  Body wash selections have a SRP of $5.99, and the foaming milk baths have a SRP of $4.99.

All soaps, body washes and milk baths are biodegradable and phosphate-free.  As is the case with all Canus products, the Caprina by Canus line is made with goat’s milk and naturally packed with vitamins, minerals and proteins, the company stated.

Canus was founded in Quebec, Canada in the mid-1990s and currently has its U.S. headquarters in Waterbury. The company markets several skin care lines, such as Caprina by Canus, Canus Goat’s Milk products for adults and Li’l Goat’s for children and babies. 

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Remembering an Arkansas drug store icon

BY Jim Frederick

I couldn’t let this week go by without noting the passing of another of the hugely talented, but low-profile retail innovators who made the chain drug store industry the powerhouse it is today.

As Drug Store News reported June 5, Stephen LaFrance died unexpectedly last Wednesday at the age of 71. LaFrance’s passing came less than nine months after he sold his powerhouse regional pharmacy business, USA Drug, to rival Walgreens for $438 million. So, sadly, he didn’t get much chance to relax and enjoy the harvest of a lifetime of hard work in the drug store industry.

LaFrance never sought the limelight as a business leader or health professional, preferring to toil quietly but successfully in the shadow of Walmart and other national retailers. So he may be unknown to many pharmacists and pharmacy students.

To LaFrance, that lack of renown never mattered much. His is a remarkable, rags-to-riches success story in pharmacy, retailing and wholesaling, and it would make a good case study in any pharmacy school business curriculum.

With very limited resources but a shrewd grasp of business principles, local customer needs and community pharmacy’s potential, LaFrance opened his first store in Pine Bluff, Ark., Stephen L. LaFrance Pharmacy, in 1968, reportedly with 26 bucks in seed money. Over the past 45 years, that modest beginning mushroomed into a sprawling network of regional chains operating 144 drug stores in the Midwest and South, along with a full-service and highly automated wholesale distribution business that serviced more than 1,000 customers from a 255,000-square-foot distribution center in Pine Bluff.

What made USA Drug’s success all the more remarkable was the company’s proximity to the Goliath of American retailing, Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart. Based less than 200 miles from each other, the two chains grew up side-by-side, and rather than being knocked off the Arkansas map like a tenacious and annoying little pest, USA Drug thrived on Walmart’s home turf. And it did so without shying away from offering a big front end in its drug stores, with many of the same product categories low-balled by its giant rival, and while snatching up other regional chains like Super D Drugs, Med-X Drugs and May’s Drug Stores.

How? With a deft blend of hometown-style, folksy customer service and sophisticated technology in the pharmacy and front end, including advanced dispensing automation and data-driven forecasting and replenishment systems. And LaFrance’s insistence on ethical business practices and honest dealings with suppliers and customers – his motto, according to former USA Drug president and CEO Joe Courtright, was “Do the right thing” – drove the company’s staying power.

Years ago, I spent an enjoyable afternoon with LaFrance and other company leaders at USA Drug’s headquarters. What I remember from this and subsequent meetings with Stephen was his sly, self-deprecating humor, his intelligence and his small-town charm. He didn’t go out of his way to cozy up to the press, and it took some small effort to get him to meet with me in his office. But despite his natural reserve, he quickly warmed to the interview process, and I found him immensely likeable.

He was also very funny. I remember the first thing he said that day in his office after we made our introductions. “Bet you didn’t know we wore shoes down here, did you?” he asked, smiling.

That’s one of my favorite memories of this quiet but brilliant Arkansas pharmacist and entrepreneur. You can share your memory by clicking on the link below.

 

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Study: Medicare Part D sources 2 to 3 times more branded Rx than VA

BY Michael Johnsen

PHILADELPHIA — The Annals of Internal Medicine on Tuesday published a study comparing generic utilization of common diabetes medications across two government programs — Medicare Part D and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Medicare’s use of brand-name medicines was two to three times greater than the VA.

According to the study, the disparity comes out of Medicare’s reliance on private plans with distinct formularies, whereas the VA administers its own benefit using a national formulary.

Brand-name drug use for oral hypoglycemics totaled 35.3% across Medicare, vs. 12.7% at the VA; 50.7% vs. 18.2% for statins; 42.5% vs. 20.8% for ACE inhibitors; and 75.1% vs. 27% for insulin analogues. 

While the study identified the generic utilization disparity, researchers noted they could not provide a comprehensive analysis describing the factors underlying differences in brand-name drug use.

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